Synopsis: David Fisher carves bowls from green wood in a snug, unplugged shop in Pennsylvania. He takes as much pleasure in the process as he does in the finished pieces. The hand tools Fisher wields to make his carved bowls are instrumental in creating the clean lines and flowing forms that are a signature of his work.
The flowing forms of david Fisher’s bowls are derived as much from the hand tools he uses as from his imagination. “The way the adze is swung, the way a gouge is pushed through the wood, actually aid in creating the lines I’m striving for,” he says. “I think it would be much harder to do this with a grinder.” He uses the natural sweep of his adze and his gouges to maximum decorative effect, creating the arching flutes and gleaming, faceted surfaces that distinguish his bowls. He often adds incised or chip carving as well, relying on gouges and a penknife for his illustrative carving and lettering. Fisher seeks new shapes as he carves his bowls but his work has roots in traditional bowl forms, and it was particularly inspired by the Swedish bowl carver Bengt Lidstrom.
By day during the school year you’ll likely find David Fisher, chalk in hand, in a classroom at the high school in Greenville, Pa., the small town in the northwest corner of the state where he and his wife grew up and where he has taught history for 24 years. In the evenings, though, Fisher trades teaching for working wood. In the snug, unplugged shop he converted from a one-car, attached garage, he swings axes and adzes, wields gouges and drawknives, as he carves bowls from the log. For Fisher, whose shop contains a brimming bookshelf, learning to work green wood was mostly a matter of “reading and trying, reading and trying.” He aims to give his bowls beautiful, flowing lines, and he takes pleasure in the finished piece. But he also finds joy in the process itself: “the smell of the wood as you split the log, the feel of the shavings as they come off the piece, the sound of the tools as they slice the wood.”
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